In a mouthwatering clash between two of India’s biggest doubles stars, Rohan Bopanna got the better of Leander Paes to advance to the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai on Friday. Bopanna, who has teamed up with the former World No. 7 Marcin Matkowski of Poland, needed 1 hour 8 minutes to edge the pair of Paes and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.
Bopanna thus continues his grand run at this prestigious Middle Eastern ATP 500 tournament. He has won the title three times in the last five years and that too, with three different partners. In 2012, he triumphed alongside Mahesh Bhupathi, in 2014, he won it with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and he successfully defended his crown the very next year with Daniel Nestor by his side.
Bopanna and Matkowski hammered seven aces and won a total of 57 points in this match, which was five more than their opponents. Both teams broke each other once.
The Indo-Polish combine was the first one to draw blood as they raced ahead to 4-1 in the first set and closed it out, 6-3. Paes and his Spanish partner Garcia-Lopez made a strong comeback in the second set where they did not face even a single break point on their way to levelling the tie.
They had upset the third seeds Daniel Nestor and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in straight sets in the quarter-finals on Thursday and very much showed glimpses of that form in the second set.
But Bopanna and Matkowski built an early lead and never relinquished it in the deciding tie-break to dash all hopes of Paes and Garcia-Lopez.
Bopanna-Matkowski to meet Grand Slam champions in final
They will meet the winners of the other semi-final contest between the top seeds Henri Kontinen-John Peers and fourth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer-Horia Tecau. Both of these pairs are Grand Slam-winning teams with the former having won the Australian Open this year. Suffice to say, it won’t be an easy outing for Bopanna and Matkowski and they have to be at their immaculate best to have any chance of winning the title.
The Indian is looking for his second title of the year after starting the 2017 season with success at Chennai.